Unlike a lot of people, I'm actually a fan of self-service checkouts. They're faster, more efficient, and they therefore cut down on queues. Provided, that is:
- You don't have anything that doesn't have a barcode
- You don't have anything that needs weighed
- You don't have anything that needs authorisation or other assistance (DVDs, wine, scissors, medicines...)
- You only have a very few items in total.
If any of those conditions don't apply, they're much harder to use, and the whole process slows right down. So while having self-service checkouts in addition to the regular ones is a good thing, we really can't switch to them as the sole means of checkout.
As we know, Monday is Tesco night, just after band practice. Unfortunately, what wasn't quite so well known is that the shift change in Tesco occurs at 10pm, at which point all regular checkouts close for ten minutes or so until the new shift can take over.
As it happened, items #1 and #'2 from my list were still true. Item #3 should have been true, but unfortunately the system fails when item #4 doesn't hold - the bagging area wasn't big enough for all the bags I needed, which meant things kept needing moved around, that kept triggering the "please seek assistance" prompt.
Now, I do understand that they need that prompt, because the self-service checkouts have to work according to the weight of items. Fair enough. And I also get that supermarkets really don't want to pay for checkout staff to do nothing. That's also fair enough.
But as a practical matter the weekly shop cannot be sensibly put through on a self-service checkout. It just doesn't work - too much hassle, too much need for intervention from the staff, and too much annoyance. It would have been better, for all concerned, for them to open up a checkout, run through that shop, and then close the checkout again.
(On another topic, and for those keeping track of my arithmetic woes: 4 - 1 = still 4. My car is now fixed, and LC's car is booked in to be fixed. And, if I'm really lucky, the flat electrics are in the process of being fixed now. However, one of the bulbs in the kitchen light has blown, and it appears that the fitting has been damaged such that the bulb can't be replaced - I'll need to replace the entire light. Sometimes, this all feels like the trials of Sisyphus.)